The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC
Hope keeps us Alive
As we head into the festive season, we want to be able to pause, celebrate with family and friends before the New Year turns the wheel of life again.
That said so many of our fellow Australians up and down the east coast of Australia will still be dealing with the savage aftermath of the terrible weather conditions we have had to endure, and those that might come in the weeks ahead.
Whether the damage has been to houses, towns, to farms, roads and other infrastructure the disruption is almost unimaginable, except of course it is real, and we can witness it, touch, feel and smell.
The time to rebuild sadly will for many will be long. Crops lost for a year, impacting the economic viability of many businesses on land and in small communities.
The rebuilding of roads and infrastructure will require warm if not completely dry conditions for a period of time before works can start.
And who will be responsible to both finance and then find the labour to do the work.
All of this is going to put extraordinary pressure on communities as human nature is that all will be looking for answers quickly.
But it is also going to put huge pressure on those municipalities who have suffered as a result of these climate conditions.
Pressure on finances, but also huge pressure on staff.
No doubt all Councils will be doing a stock take of the remedial work that has to be done, in descending order of the urgency required for each task. Who is responsible for works and financing them, and then allocating human resources to undertake the work.
May I also suggest it will be a very important time for senior officers and the head of the HR departments to monitor the health and welfare of their employees.
They will be buffeted by the size of the task, but also community expectations.
Healthy people, mentally and physically, deliver better results. Those who are not in such a condition are often not as productive and sadly can make mistakes.
So, I would always argue, when being challenged the wellbeing of one’s staff will decide how quickly and well the challenge will be met.
This is made harder of course when one disaster, flooding, fire or drought follows another, so there is simply no let up.
It seems to me that Governments have a huge capacity to borrow money for infrastructure on the east coast. I trust they have an equal interest in being generous to assist those communities inland so affected by natural disasters.
What used to interest me was the effectiveness of coordinated responses to disasters.
Of course, at the time they occur, plenty of publicity, plenty of politicians visiting, making comments and then leaving.
But the incident or disaster is only the tip of the iceberg. The rebuilding is nine tenths of the challenges.
So, Christmas and the New Year, what will it bring. No one knows. Suffice to say we are a very resilient population. We will rebuild. We will celebrate as best we can depending on our circumstances.
More than ever Councils will have to provide clear leadership, provide hope. For where there is hope there is a worthy future.
From all of us at CT Management, we are thinking of you. We are working with many of you. And sincerely wish you well, regardless of whether you are a Council under pressure, or one who for now has been spared from the current disasters.
If so ask yourself, are you prepared, what would you do if a similar natural disaster struck your municipality?
My best wishes to you all as 2022 draws to a close, and may 2023 bring your families and communities good health and satisfaction in 2023.
The Hon Jeff Kennett AC
CT Management Group